By- Sashi Kumari Bisht
What makes attending a Kumbh Mela a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
One of the largest human gatherings in the world, Kumbh Mela is a congregation of millions of people who assemble at the banks of the sacred Ganges to take a dip in its holy waters. While some believe it will wash away their sins, others consider it to be the biggest celebration of life. Recognizing the festival's importance, UNESCO included the Kumbh Mela on its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in December 2017.
The four venues where Kumbh Mela is held on a rotational basis are Haridwar, Ujjain, Prayagraj, and Nashik. Held every four years, each of these venues witnesses the mela once in 12 years. The Ardh Kumbh, taking place once in six years, is held in Prayagraj and Haridwar. We tell you what makes visiting a Kumbh Mela once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Largest Human Congregation
The Kumbh Mela is said to be the biggest human gathering anywhere around the world. In the 2010 Kumbh Mela, around 8 crore devotees thronged Haridwar. It is estimated that around 15 crore pilgrims from India and abroad are expected to visit the four-month-long mela in 2021.
The Sacred Bath
The main purpose of people coming to Kumbh Mela is for the scared bath. While the whole period is considered auspicious, there are certain days said to be royal and scared than others. On these days, be ready to brace the crowd as thousands of devotees from across cities flock to Haridwar for a holy dip.
The Naga Sadhus paint a vivid picture at the mela. Often seen with coils of matted hair and naked bodies smeared with holy ash, many a time they are seen carrying a trident crowned with a Rudraksha bead. While many of them look fierce, in actuality they have renounced all materialistic goods and live a life of oblivion. Most of the Naga Sadhus do not appear in public except for the Kumbh Mela.
Besides taking a dip in the Ganga two to three times a day (you can go for more if you like), special yoga classes, lectures, cultural programs, and aartis are something that will keep your busy in Haridwar. Kumbh Mela also allows you to meet learned spiritual leaders or sadhus who can uplift your spirits in no time.
The Kumbh Mela is not just a festival, its importance goes far beyond imagination. People look up to the event in the highest regard. It is believed by many that taking a bath in the holy Ganges at the time of the Kumbh will liberate them from various sufferings and miseries. This is the reason why, despite all the odds, people from every corner of the country plan to attend the mela once in their lifetime. It's your turn now.
The Maha Kumbh Mela was held in Haridwar in 2021.